Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression by Brooke Shields
rating: 4 of 5 stars
I appreciated Brooke’s honesty in how she described her experiences. Some of her points felt a little over-stated and went on but the writing was
interesting. Several key components of her experiences really resonated with me. The experiences were bang on with what I was feeling before and during my diagnosis and it was almost a relief to hear that I wasn’t an abnormality.
First, when she had a hard time defining herself after her daughter was born because “up until now, I realized, I had equated my worth with my successes in my career and at school. …I had little opportunity to cultivate a sense of self separate from the one I held through my profession. …Without my work to rely on, I felt unmoored” (page 100).
Second, while on a trip Brooke met a woman who had a terrible time after her daughter was born. Her point that the woman was articulate and talented yet still experienced terrible anxiety, alarming mood swings, and no appetite. The woman generally “felt as if she wasn’t herself” (page 116).
Third, without her work, Brooke feels as though she no longer matters. In her colleagues eyes she was “no longer an actress; I was now just a mom. …Needless to say, my senses of identity and self had been markedly unsettled” (page 130-131). In a recent discussion I realised I still referred to who I used to be (a consultant who worked on prestigious capital campaigns). I felt that the response I got when mentioning my former life versus being a mom and care-giver was much more respect than my current choice. Truth be told, this is the hardest and yet most rewarding job I’ve ever done. So why am I feeling the tugs of society disproving or disrespecting my choice to stay home and raise our family with our morals and values.
Fourth, I was relieved to read when Brooke’s doctor explained “just because postpartum depression has happened with one child, it wouldn’t necessarily occur after subsequent births” (page 137). I don’t know if we are done having children but this was something that has been definitely weighing on my mind.
Finally, Brooke and myself were both comforted “to know that those people who had experienced postpartum depression but who had reached out for help not only came through it, they did so with healthy bonded relationships with their children” (page 146). Another stress that manifests itself through the depression is hyper-sensitivity and self-doubt. I generally am a confident woman but with the panic and anxiety I had experienced before taking “the orange pill” or what I refer to as “my happy pill” I was unsure about even simple decisions such as what to feed my 2-year-old daughter for lunch! Things are much better now and I am enjoying my children and husband as I should.